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Experiencing the New and Unknown

By SRAI News posted 11-10-2021 03:15 PM


Experiencing the New and Unknown

I was new to the Society for Research Administrators International as a whole.  Until January 2021 the most I had heard was that they were a professional organization in my industry. After a Training Intensive and being supported by a mentor to submit a presentation for the annual meeting, I knew I was in for a treat. Fast forward seven months, I was named a Future of the Field and the John Robinson Travel Award winner for early-career presenters.  I was off to a land I had never seen, New Orleans, LA, for the 2021 Annual Meeting. 

I went to the registration table early Sunday morning and was greeted with a delightful smile and welcome as I was handed all my items. Even the staff expressed excitement for all the materials they handed to me. My excitement and intrigue have only grown since. The entire experience from the Newcomer’s Welcome Sunday evening through the awards presentation and my actual presentation on Monday, the membership and staff do everything in their power to encourage and support you through your professional development. I have learned about more offerings from SRAI as a whole and look forward to working towards those in my career. The awards luncheon meal was delicious, as were the snack stations provided at the evening reception. The keynote speaker presented on a very specific topic but delivered it in an intriguing manner that kept the attention of all, and the closing keynote was one of the best speaking engagements I have ever experienced. (I am sure I was not the only one, but remember when they played “When the Saints Go Marching In”? I submitted that via the QR code.) 

I have ridden on a “post-conference high” for a little over a week now and took the time to write this excerpt to share that if you know someone in Research Administration or are yourself looking for a career boost or spark, SRAI has several ways to capitalize and provide that. If you know someone who is new to the industry and a shining star or diamond in the rough, consider nominating them for the Future of the Field award. It is a great way to bring recognition to them as well highlight those individuals who could be the next leaders in SRAI. Encourage your peers, colleagues, and/or mentees to submit to present and support them to be a co-presenter on your presentation; you never know, it could be the opportunity for them to explore an opportunity they have never had before. 

I want to thank my mentors and friends and the entire staff at SRAI for their support and encouragement, as well as the opportunity to participate in the Future of the Field program and for honoring me with the John Robinson award. I am humbled and greatly appreciate the confidence and career boost.

Authored by Jerod Kersey, Senior Contract/Grant Administrator
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center